Steps of recovery from alcoholism

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Main page content

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
    Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.

    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Recovery and Recovery Support | SAMHSA

Recovery and Resilience

Resilience refers to an individual’s ability to cope with change and adversity. Resilience develops over time and gives an individual the capacity not only to cope with life’s challenges but also to be better prepared for the next stressful situation. Psychological resilience, the ability to cope with adversity and to adapt to stressful life events, varies widely from person to person and depends on environmental as well as personal factors. It refers to positive adaptation, or the ability to maintain mental and physical health despite participating in stressful situations. Resilience is playing up those protective factors so they can outweigh the risk factors. Optimism and the ability to remain hopeful are essential to resilience and the process of recovery.

Because recovery is a highly individualized process, recovery services and supports must be age appropriate and offered over the life course and flexible enough to ensure cultural relevancy. What may work for adults in recovery may be very different for youth or older adults in recovery. For example, the promotion of resiliency in young people, and the nature of social supports, peer mentors, and recovery coaching for adolescents and transitional age youth are different than recovery support services for adults and older adults.

Recovery and Relationships

The process of recovery is supported through relationships and social networks. This often involves family members who become the champions of their loved one’s recovery. They provide essential support to their family member’s journey of recovery and similarly experience the moments of positive healing as well as the difficult challenges. Families of people in recovery may experience adversities in their social, occupational, and financial lives, as well as in their overall quality of family life.

These experiences can lead to increased family stress, guilt, shame, anger, fear, anxiety, loss, grief, and isolation. The concept of resilience in recovery is also vital for family members who need access to intentional supports that promote their health and well-being. The support of peers and friends is also crucial in engaging and supporting individuals in recovery.

Peer support assists individuals to engage or stay connected to the recovery process through a shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment. Peer support extends beyond the reach of clinical treatment into the everyday environment providing non-clinical, strengths-based support. This relationship can help lay the foundation for SAMHSA’s four dimensions of recovery.

Recovery Support

SAMHSA advanced recovery support systems to promote partnering with people in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and their family members to guide the behavioral health system and promote individual, program, and system-level approaches that foster health and resilience; increase housing to support recovery; reduce barriers to employment, education, and other life goals; and secure necessary social supports in their chosen community.

Recovery support is provided in various settings. Recovery support services help people enter into and navigate systems of care, remove barriers to recovery, stay engaged in the recovery process, and live full lives in communities of their choice.

Recovery support services include culturally and linguistically appropriate services that assist individuals and families working toward recovery from mental and/or substance use problems. They incorporate a full range of social, legal, and other services (PDF | 409 KB). that facilitate recovery, wellness, and linkage to and coordination among service providers, and other supports shown to improve quality of life for people (and their families) in and seeking recovery.

Recovery support services may be provided before, during, or after clinical treatment, or may be provided to individuals who are not in treatment but seek support services.

These services, provided by professionals and peers, are delivered through a variety of community and faith-based groups, treatment providers, schools, and other specialized services.  The broad range of service delivery options ensures the life experiences of all people are valued and represented.

For example, in the United States there are 34 recovery high schools that help reduce the risk in high school environments for youth with substance use disorders. These schools typically have high retention rates and low rates of students returning to substance use.

Additionally, SAMHSA's Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) advances effective recovery supports and services for people with mental or substance use disorders and their families.

Find more Publications and Resources on Recovery and Recovery Support.

Stages of alcoholism treatment - a step-by-step strategy from Akson Medical Center 24

Treatment of alcoholism is a difficult task, the solution of which is achieved through the joint efforts of the patient and the doctor. One of the main conditions for successful treatment of alcohol addiction is intrinsic motivation, the patient's attitude to treatment. A sincere desire to be treated and live a high-quality, fulfilling, happy life without alcohol gives a strong impetus to get rid of alcoholism. It should be understood that alcoholism is not a bad habit, but a chronic mental illness, based on a pathological craving for alcohol. Alcohol addiction is included in the international classification of diseases (ICD-10), in block F10.0 - F11.

distinguish 3 main stages of treatment for alcoholism:

1. Etap
The conclusion from binge and stabilization of the mental and physical condition of the patient

2. Etap
Automobile treatment of alcoholism - psychopharmacotherapy and psychotherapy

3. Etap
Rehabilitation and social adaptation of the patient

Stage 1 of alcoholism treatment - medication (alcohol detoxification) - treatment of acute alcohol disorder and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Alcohol detoxification (alcohol detoxification) involves the interruption of alcohol consumption and the mitigation of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome (hangover) by pharmacological methods, in the first place - patients need intravenous drip infusions, mainly with isotonic sodium chloride solution, since prolonged alcohol abuse leads to dehydration, lack of potassium and magnesium ions. In severe cases, with multi-day binges with a large amount of alcohol, intensive infusion therapy (droppers) with succinic acid preparations (Reamberin, Cytoflavin) is used.

The standards for the provision of drug treatment developed by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation provide for the mandatory prescription of sedatives: gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonists, for example, benzodiazepine derivatives (phenazepam, phenorelaxan, tranquizepam).

Vitamin therapy is a necessary component of the treatment of alcohol dependence at all stages: group "B" (thiamine, pyridoxine, cyanocabalamin), nicotinic acid "PP", vitamin "C")

Cardiovascular agents (mildronate, asparkam, cardiomagnyl) they are an integral part of the treatment of alcoholism, since the heart and blood vessels suffer greatly with constant alcohol abuse.

Nootropics (phenibut, piracetam, picamilon) are part of a comprehensive alcoholism treatment program and in some cases are taken for a long time as maintenance therapy.

Fluid therapy is therefore essential for detoxification, rehydration, electrolyte deficiencies and intravenous drug administration.

A severe stage of alcohol withdrawal (hangover) leads to various disturbances in the water and electrolyte balance in the body, which can reach a critical degree, in which case the risk of death is very high.

That is why infusion therapy (droppers) is a prerequisite for getting the patient out of hard drinking and contributes to further stabilization of the patient's condition at the 1st stage of alcohol dependence treatment.

In addition to intravenous drip infusions, the narcologist psychiatrist, according to the indications and the patient's condition, prescribes injections and tablets.

At stage 2, an important part of the treatment of alcoholism is anti-relapse therapy , which helps to prevent possible exacerbations of pathological craving for alcohol and the resumption of alcohol intake. For this, the so-called prohibitive procedure with psychotherapeutic support is carried out - "coding" of alcoholism. A drug containing the active substance, disulfiram, is injected into the patient's body, as a result of which alcohol intolerance is formed.

The drug disulfiram blocks the activity of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase and in the human body, when interacting with alcohol, acetic acid and products of incomplete biochemical decomposition of alcohol accumulate - an alcohol disulfiram reaction develops.

When this reaction occurs, the patient feels severe discomfort, nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased sweating, redness of the skin, fever throughout the body, panic attacks and fear of death may develop.

Extremely unpleasant sensations that occur when drinking even small doses of alcohol make the patient stop drinking alcohol once and for all.

It is important to remember that alcohol disulfiram reaction occurs only when alcohol is taken orally when ethyl alcohol gets on the gastric mucosa. While maintaining the sobriety regime, the patient feels great and does not experience any unpleasant experiences.

When sobriety is observed, positive physiological processes occur in the human body that help overcome the passion for alcohol and contribute to the recovery from alcohol dependence:

  • the balance between the transmission of GABA and glutamate, disturbed by the abuse of alcoholic beverages, is restored. As a result, the need for alcohol decreases.
  • prevention of dopamine release by blocking beta-endorphin in response to ethanol. Thus, the patient loses the positive reinforcing effect (positive reinforcing effect) of alcohol, which underlies the treatment of alcohol dependence.
  • reduces the severity of alcohol dependence (withdrawal syndrome) by acting on NMDA receptors.
  • increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which reduces alcohol-induced CNS damage and prevents alcohol-induced cognitive impairment.

Psychotherapeutic impact on the patient, which consists in identifying internal conflicts and resolving them using various methods.

Psychotherapeutic treatment is carried out in ways that have proven to be effective, in accordance with the results of mass clinical trials.

1. Conditional reflex series - a technique that has very good results in the treatment of alcoholism, by forming a gag reflex to ethanol. The technique was proposed back in 1933 by I.F. Sluchevsky and A.A. Fricken, and is still the most active way to combat alcoholism.

2. Anchor method – based on the doctor's work with the patient's subconscious and consciousness, points provocateurs that start or slow down alcohol abuse are identified. Thus, a persistent aversion to alcohol is formed.

3. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) - Just like a radio that we tune to the pure wave we need, so NLP tunes to the right wave of actions, words, thought process, tunes to a life without alcohol.

Physiotherapy in the treatment of alcoholism

Nowadays, physiotherapy for alcoholism in Moscow is aimed at restoring the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Physiotherapy perfectly complements medical and psychotherapy, improves sleep, harmonizes the nervous system, eliminates muscle spasms, and has a general strengthening effect. Physiotherapy procedures that are indicated for alcoholism:

1. ELECTROSONE (electrotranquilization)
is used when alcoholism is complicated by neuroses and diencephalic syndrome. Thus, a change in the electrical conductive properties of tissues is achieved, which creates conditions for a normalizing effect on the central nervous system.

(intravenous laser irradiation of blood) is used for deep cleansing of the body from alcohol breakdown products and stimulation of the human immune system.

3. ИРТ
(acupuncture, acupuncture) - used to restore the balance of the processes of excitation and inhibition, improve the passage of nerve impulses.

4. Massage and manual therapy
give strength, relax and restore general tone.

5. Hydrotherapy
is carried out in a hydromassage bath and Charcot shower, high pressure of water and air relaxes and improves skin tone, promotes relaxation of the striated muscles of the body, general calm and relaxation of the central nervous system.

6. Hirudotherapy (leech treatment)
refers to non-traditional methods of treatment and is indicated in the treatment of alcoholism as a general strengthening therapy.

Stage 3 of the treatment of alcoholism is the rehabilitation and social adaptation of the patient : takes place in specialized rehabilitation centers. In some cases, spiritually oriented methods of psychotherapy are used, which are associated with the religious worldview and feelings of the patient.

Stages of alcoholism treatment - Brik Narcological Center

There are a huge number of reasons why alcohol addiction occurs. Sometimes severe stress provoked by troubles in the family or at work, emotional conflict caused by the sudden death of a loved one leads to addiction. To a greater extent, people with insufficient self-esteem, a depressive type of character, dissatisfied with themselves and their actions are prone to the development of alcoholism. But whatever the reason for the development of the problem, contacting the Brik Narcological Center will help you find a solution and get qualified help in the treatment of alcoholism.

It is extremely difficult to recover from addiction on your own, today not only men, but also women need help in treating alcohol.

Stages of alcohol addiction treatment

Assistance to patients suffering from alcohol dependence is carried out in several stages:

  • motivation;
  • detoxification;
  • suppression of cravings for alcoholic beverages;
  • preventive measures.

Alcoholic motivation

At this stage of alcohol addiction treatment, patients may be in such a difficult condition that they cannot set a goal for themselves to get rid of drinking. Treatment will not have the desired effect if the patient himself and voluntarily does not want to get rid of the problem. If there is no proper motivation, there is a high risk of relapse. Therefore, at the first stage of the fight against alcoholism, experienced psychologists conduct conversations with the patient, which allows you to get ahead of the depth of the problem, and plans are made for the near future. A person must independently come to a decision about undergoing a course of therapy, be ready to listen to the recommendations of specialists, and follow the instructions of the doctor.

Detoxification of the body

People who are fully aware of the problem and want to get rid of it apply to the Brik Narcological Center. In chronic alcoholism, the human body is poisoned by toxins, they affect all the most important organs and systems. Therefore, the most important stage in the treatment of alcoholism is the removal of toxins from the body. Elimination of the consequences of intoxication is carried out with the help of drugs in several stages:

  • cleaning is carried out by introducing special preparations;
  • removal of withdrawal syndrome, painful craving for alcohol, which is accompanied by severe pain, bouts of nausea, and other symptoms;
  • diagnostics to identify pathologies of internal organs, and their further treatment.

This stage is one of the most difficult in the treatment of alcohol addiction. It is very difficult for patients at first not to drink, but as the course progresses, cravings will recede.

Suppression of craving for alcohol

At this stage of treatment it is important to overcome the desire to drink on a psychological level. To do this, the specialists of the Brik Narcological Center will offer several methods. One of the most effective methods is alcoholism coding. Using it, the doctor inspires the patient with a ban on alcohol.

Another popular way to overcome cravings is to block. This method does not involve psychological correction, the impact is carried out at the physical level. A drug is injected into the patient's body that will block the action of enzymes that break down alkaloids. If even a drop of alcohol enters the body, a person will experience severe malaise, headaches, bouts of nausea, which will be a manifestation of the protective function of the body. It is important to note that this procedure is possible only after a complete detoxification of the body has been completed.

Prevention of alcoholism

It is as important as detoxification or fighting cravings. Having overcome physical dependence, the patient will have to go through a long stage of rehabilitation. This will help him consolidate the achieved result, get rid of psychological dependence and adapt to normal life in society.

Alcoholism is an insidious disease, because this addiction takes root in the patient's daily life, gradually changing his daily routine, habits and social circle. Therefore, it is very important for a person who has undergone a rehabilitation course to provide moral support, help not to succumb to temptation and not return to their previous way of life. At the rehabilitation stage, experts recommend attending psychotherapeutic practices, trainings, lectures, and holding meetings with psychologists. If necessary, medications may be prescribed.

Learn more